Review Natural Resource & Environment sector for Accountability – CSOs to Gov’t

Government has been called to continue reviewing the Natural Resources and Environment sector to ensure its accountability across the country.

The call was made by the immediate past Chairperson of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Natural Resource and Environment (NRE), Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng at a press conference at its just ended 10th Annual General Meeting in Accra.

The 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was organised by the Coalition of NGOs in the Fisheries,Mining, Forestry, Land,Oil and Gas, Water and Sanitation as well as Climate Change, Water and Sanitation, hence KASA initiative.

The AGM was on the theme “Sustainable Natural Resource Exploitation in Ghana: the Role of CSOs”.

Speaking to the press, Mrs. Owusu Koranteng pointed out that, the Natural Resource and Environment review is of importance and necessary to ensure the effective utilisation of the revenue that comes from the resources and the preservation as well the conservation of the environment for future generations.

This she believes is because of the rich natural resources, the economic model which continues to increase the country’s dependence on the extractive sector.

Acknowledging that, “This economic model places premium on resource extraction is associated with increased environmental cost which if not addressed could create a situation where cost outweighs the benefits”.

Speaking further, the immediate past Chairperson revealed that, government’s report in 2018 indicated that gold, cocoa, petroleum, agriculture and individual remittances were the major sources of foreign exchange.

According the report, Gold accounted for $8.35 billion, Crude Petroleum earn was $2.97 billion, and agriculture $2.633 billion respectively using the 1992 revision of the Harmonised System (HS) classification.

Whiles explained that, the agricultural sector expanded by 4.8 per cent in 2018, with the Fishing sub-sector continuing to decline, recording a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of -6.8 per cent.

“The value of timber exports in 2018 was Euro187.87 million, adding that “the state should not only be interested in the revenue generated from the sector but rather assess the costs associated to with them exploitation of these resources from its pristine, physical environment and to society”, she added.

Government in its quest for development, she noted made commitments, which affected the stability of the country’s natural resources.

Therefore noted that, CSO’s have the responsibility of ensuring that government’s plans are aligned to sustainable development which it ascribed to.

To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), there should be transparent and accountable governance, where government encouraged citizens’, development partners and investors in the natural resource sector, she asserted.

To safeguard the natural resources and environment, Mrs Owusu-Koranteng called for pragmatic steps to be taken to ensure sustainable exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources, which cuts across water quality, fish stocks, food production, and environmental sanitation.

And also stated that, there is the need for government to make its priority agenda on forests, reactivating of the environment and Natural Resources Council clear to ensure that natural resources regulatory institutions are accountable and transparent as well ensuring effective revenue management.

She therefore appealed to government to review Ghana’s forest component to address the broader forest governance issues as well encourage the use of indigenous species for forest restoration and not exotic ones.

Story By: Ishmael Barfi

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